I’ve been looking at a few art journals recently. Wondering why I generally only work on a journal when I’m travelling? Thinking that though I can do a pretty good job of assemblage, I’d quite like to get a bit more of actual art in there.
I’ve seen plenty of journals which really don’t float my boat. I’m tired of seeing faces of moody women with long necks, scribbled in charcoal on a highly coloured background. I’m bored with pointless doodles which mean nothing and are really just some instructor-led scribbles and encouragement to go out and buy more, expensive materials (or indeed, more expensive materials!)
I’ve dabbled in digital journalling and learned a lot about Photoshop and what can be created without moving away from my computer. I have folders of digital sellotape, ink blots and jpg lines of stitching.
I’ve played with hybrid methods; real cutting, sticking and gluing on top of printed out, digital images, because I recognised that getting my hands dirty and creating some dimension was all part of what I enjoy and that simply printing out didn’t quite do it for me.
I’ve followed online prompts and classes, which have inspired me to do something outside my normal comfort zone, to work in a different style or even to identify a way of applying my style to a different framework. The envelope page above was part of Shimelle’s “Learn Something New Every Day” project and with September on the horizon, I think that it’s a good time to consider this year’s challenge.
I took a favourite book from my shelf and thought about how I’m going to approach this. In particular, a paragraph on the page about collage leapt out and struck a chord:
“..collage makes use of appropriated images and words. These will bring their own accumulated meanings and connotations with them into their new configurations on your pages. These items are marks and as such should contribute to the overall meaning of the work and not dominate the piece. Work that is basically an enshrinement of an appropriated image fails on many levels”
Amen! Here, in a couple of sentences, is what has been niggling me about so many of the journals I see here and there. Exactly what I’ve been trying to avoid in my own work and I think, why I find it hard to do any kind of journalling unless I’m travelling. Normal, everyday life doesn’t seem to produce the ephemera, the unusual situations or the interesting enough experiences which are worth recording* and using some commercial or product-driven theme: Put a bird on it or the current overused image (button? butterfly? pointy hat?) really doesn’t work for me.
an image from page 77 of “The Decorated Journal” which I particularly like
So, the challenge I’m setting myself this year is to create something more authentic. I’m going to use the Learn Something New Every Day prompts to try to bring a little more art into my 2012 journal; to leave the computer out of it and get the real colour flowing. Not all pages will be masterpieces, I know. Perhaps I won’t be able to do a whole page each day and some days will be a mere note or intention? Maybe I’ll get into the habit and find that I can’t stop? Perhaps I’ll fall at the first hurdle and discover that writing blogs, taking daily photos and creating an art journal doesn’t leave any time at all for actually living the life I’m trying to record? Who knows?
But there. I’ve said it here. I’ve committed! Anyone else playing along?
* You’re right, normal life does produce the most extraordinary situations and the most mundane and routine experience is well worth recording, of course! But do I have the energy or the commitment to record it all? Let’s see.